Thursday 14th Dec 2017 - Logistics Manager

The benefits of sharing

Boots has been using DHL Supply Chain at its Beeston site for 15 years so a five year contract renewal is not entirely surprising. What makes this deal interesting is the fact that the retailer is looking for improved efficiency from collaborative initiatives with other retailers, such as shared high street deliveries and backhauling.

Under the contract DHL manages the national primary operation at Boots’ main site in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, working with two chill distribution centres and fourteen cross dock operations. It serves a network of 2,500 stores.

There is clearly scope to make efficiencies through vehicle sharing, and initiatives have shown some success. In 2010, the IGD calculated that about 124 million lorry miles had been taken off UK roads as part of a sustainable distribution initiative – a year earlier than originally planned.

It said the saving, achieved through the ECR UK initiative, had been generated through a mix of best practice internal projects and external partnerships between retailers and suppliers.

Given the huge scope for such collaborations, there have been relatively few successful examples. And I was struck by the fact that my attempts to find statistics on it, lead me back four years.

The third party logistics providers are well placed to act as catalysts in creating effective distribution collaborations, which can have benefits in terms of both environment and  efficiency.

Let’s hope more retailers see the benefits of sharing.